Vols advance to SEC Tourney Quarterfinals
Tennessee knocks down 10 3-pointers in 70-55 win over Ole Miss
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee (22-9) enters the week looking to defend its 2022 SEC Tournament title. A year ago in Tampa, the Vols defeated Mississippi State, Kentucky and Texas A&M in a three-day span to capture the program’s first SEC Tournament title in 43 years.
This is the second meeting this season between Tennessee and Ole Miss. The Vols defeated the Rebels in Oxford on Dec. 28, 63-59, and have won seven of the past eight meetings overall.
With a win Thursday, The Vols will advance to face No. 4 seed Missouri in Friday’s quarterfinals at approximately 3:30 p.m. ET.
We’re underway in Nashville and both teams are off to a hot shooting start in the Music City. Each side with three 3-pointers. Josiah-Jordan James with two for Tennessee and one for Santi Vescovi.
With hopes of making a long run here in Nashville, the Vols are playing a lot of guys early, including freshman guard BJ Edwards, who did not see any action at Auburn. It was Vescovi running the point early with Edwards taking over the last few minutes. Josiah-Jordan James leads the Vols in scoring with 8 points with just over 11 minutes to play in the first half.
It’s been raining three’s at Bridgeston Arena. The two teams are a combined 10-18 from beyond the arc, each with five. And the Vols are spreading the wealth. Hitting from deep has been Vescovie, James, Olivier Nkamhoua and Jahmai Mashack. Those 3′s helped the Vols rally from a 25-19 deficit to a 27-27 tie with 6:29 remaining in the half.
Back and forth throughout much of the first half, the Vols get a little separation late and as time expired, Josiah-Jordan James drilled a 3-pointer from the corner giving the Vols a 39-33 lead. UT 7 of 15 from beyond the arc in the first half. Also of note, the refs are letting these guys play, each team with only three fouls in the first half. And at halftime VFL Lang Wiseman was honored as Tennessee’s SEC Legend.
Tennessee would come out firing after the break and staying hot was Josiah-Jordan James who would connect on his 4th 3-pointer of the game to give Tennessee an 11 point lead at 44-33.
Ole Miss would make a charge and pull to within four points at 52-48, but a Tyreke Key three would extend the lead for Tennessee to 55-48 at the under 12 minute TV timeout. Vols with nine 3-pointers while leading the all important rebound battle 24-17.
Vols get off to a nice start in Nashville turning back the Ole Miss Rebels for the second time this season. The final from Bridgestone Arena, 70-55 as the Vols improve to 23-9 on the season. Leading the way, Josiah-Jordan James with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Santiago Vescovi added 15 for the Big Orange, who dominated on the glass, outrebounding Ole Miss 38-22. Tennessee got terrific bench play on Thursday, but also committed 14 turnovers, which the Rebels turned in to 19 points.
It’s on to the quarterfinals of this 2023 SEC Tournament where the Vols will face a Missouri team which stunned Tennessee on a buzzer-beater at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tip-Off in Nashville will be approximately 3:30 p.m. ET or about 30 minutes following Friday’s first quarterfinal round game.
Copyright 2023 WVLT. All rights reserved.